Actor Christopher Lee passed away on June 7 of heart failure and respiratory problems. He was 93.
Before Lee became an actor, he served in Britain’s RAF during WWII, primarily in North Africa and later in Italy. Part of his military career was spent hunting down Nazis.
After the war, Lee embarked upon an acting career. He mostly played bit parts, but by the late 1950s would begin find his niche in horror films as Dracula, playing him in 10 films over the next 15 years. He would also appear in the British horror classic The Wicker Man. His other notable appearances during the 1970s were as the villain in the James Bond film The Man With the Golden Gun as well as the disaster movie Airport ’77.
Younger audiences will remember Lee for his role as Count Dooku/Darth Tyranus in two of the Star Wars prequel movies and as Saruman in both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. In his later years, Lee also had an unlikely career as a heavy metal artist releasing several albums including Charlemagne: The Omens of Death and a Heavy Metal Christmas.
Lee was also a long time supporter of Britain’s Conservative Party. Current Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice Michael Gove praised Lee in an op-ed in the Daily Mail over the weekend:
He was quiet and serious, formidably well-informed and intellectually curious. His world outlook had, of course, been framed by the war and his subsequent work hunting Nazi war criminals.
He knew the evil of which man is capable, and knew also that quiet civility and traditional custom, inherited institutions and respect for past wisdom are some of the best defences against barbarism mankind has devised.
He was, therefore, a traditional British Conservative, but of an exceptionally gentle and thoughtful kind.
But really, I’m not kidding about the heavy metal. Please watch “The Bloody Verdict of Verden.”
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